Stacey’s 10/10 for the Top Ten of 2022

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

If you enjoyed The Jane Austen Society by the same author, you’ll enjoy this one too! Set in 1950’s London, this story follows Evie Stone, Viven Lowry, and Grace Perkins, as they navigate the difficulties of navigating the old-fashioned rules and new ways of thinking in a post-war era. Mentioning actual influential authors, artists, and politicians, led this reader off on short bursts of research to find out even more. 

Finely Donovan is Killing It AND Finely Donovan Knocks ‘em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Finely Donovan is a woman of many talents, she’s a best selling author, she’s a mom, she’s about to be the ex-wife of a cheating husband, and she’s accidentally started solving murders. Joined by Vero, a live-in nanny, Finely is as surprised as anyone when this unlikely duo take on some pretty serious bad guys -and win! If you like the Stephanie Plum mysteries, let this be the new series you start in 2023!

Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley

Iona feels like her best days are behind her, professionally and personally, but she’s in for a great surprise when strangers on her daily commute tell her what they think of her. With plenty of sass and sweet moments, I dare you to read this book and not feel better about the world we live in!

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant chemist with innovative ideas and the ability to make those ideas into reality. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she’s a strong smart woman in the 1960s, and she’s beautiful, and she’s dismissed by men in power at every turn. Elizabeth isn’t a quitter though, she believes provable facts and hard work make a difference. If you enjoyed Mad Men on television, you’ll love this one!

Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher

Last year was the first time I’d read a book by this author and A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking made my top ten for the year. Who would have guessed a repeat appearance already?! A Wizard’s Guide is meant for a slightly younger audience than Nettle and Bone, but they’re both chock full of quirky characters and interesting adventures featuring strong young women. If you’re looking to set off a quest with a demonic chicken, fairy godmother, disgraced knight, and a youngest sister trying to save her sister and kingdon, this one’s for you!

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

If you were old enough to care about pop culture or politics during the 1990s, this book is full of things you probably forgot or to provide better insight on what happened back in the day. A good sense of humor and enjoyable footnotes (yes, enjoyable footnotes!) made this an extra fun walk down memory lane.

Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

It’s been a little bit of time since this author’s last book but this was worth the wait. Zoey lost her Mom when she was pretty young but now she’s done with high school and she’s headed back to Mallow Island where her Mom left her a studio apartment in the small Dellawisp Condos community. Zoey hopes to spend the summer searching out more of her Mom’s past but finds herself caught up in a different kind of mystery. If she’s willing to listen to the Dellawisp’s resident flock of birds, she should be fine…. right?

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

I’m not afraid of animals telling me part of the story and neither should you be (if you don’t mind my saying so). In this book Tova Sullivan, a 70 year old widow, and a giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus narrate a story of love, family, friendship, and connection. Small details keep connecting in unexpected ways, and help make the end 100% satisfying.

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

People moving through time, voluntarily or by mistake, can make me a little anxious on their behalf. Generally I don’t read to feel anxious and usually skip over stories where people find themselves bouncing through time. I’m so glad I read this one though. Alice is turning 4o and loves 99% of her life as an independent woman living in her NYC hometown, the missing 1% is due to father’s ailing health. When she discovers she can travel to her past, giving her the chance to live slightly altered timelines and, more importantly, seeing her father strong and healthy, Alice’s journey truly begins.

The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

When Satoru finds a stray cat in need of medical attention, he doesn’t hesitate in his swift actions to save a life. Naming his new cat companion Nana, Satoru and Nana quickly settle into the properly respectful worshiping relationship every cat person should recognize. But they aren’t just good companions, they have the kind of strong bond nothing could break. Traveling across Japan, Satoru and Nana visit people and places from Satoru’s past, and each visit leaves a lasting impression on all involved. Fair warning: Nana tell the entire story, and he’s a *gifted!* storyteller. Give it a try, you might like it too!

Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett

I’ve been struggling for months to describe this book, keeping in all of the story’s amazingly enjoyable quirky elements and bonus features. Now that we’re (alphabetically) at the end of my list, I’ll ask you just to trust me so I don’t need to do another bad job and you still get the joy of meeting new fictional friends doing interesting things…. 🙂

If you’ve read any of these, or if you decide to try one, let me know what you’re thoughts were! Happy Reading! -Stacey

Stacey’s Top Ten (or more) of 2021

As we approach the end of Year Two in a Global Pandemic, it remains equally difficult to concentrate on reading and impossible not to hide out in-between the pages of a book, yes? I don’t know if it’s a permanent change but I really leaned hard into audiobooks, with plenty of special appearances by SciFi and children’s classics. I didn’t include any of the classics, they get plenty of press, but I will note which titles I thought were particularly good audio editions. And so that’s my prepwork -all done! Now, are we ready to get into it? Let’s go!!

Special Shout Out:

Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

If we’ve talked at all this year, you’ll know at the top of my most favorite and most suggested books would be the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. A series of novellas and one novel, these stories are about Murderbot, a self-named AI created to be hired out to protect humans in various settings out in space. Murderbot is smart and funny and thought-provoking and there’s nothing I don’t like about this entire series. I’ve listened to the audiobooks and the narrator is now the voice of Murderbot to me.

True Stories:

Easy Crafts for the Insane by Kelly Williams (Audiobook read by the author.)

Kelly shares her rollercoaster of success and health struggles mixed in with her sanity-saving crafting, with instructions included for your own crafting experience. Thoughtful, funny, and uplifting.

The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams (Audiobook read by the authors.)

What an amazing individual Jane Goodall is, now I know more about her life story and I do feel more hope for the future (by taking action)!

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (Audiobook read by the author.)

So many great essays on topics ranging from her childhood to the recent loss of her friend Sooki. If you listen, it’s like finding a new best friend.

Storyteller by Dave Grohl (Audiobook read by the author.)

Nirvana and Foo Fighters fans will already be on this one but you don’t have to know all his songs to enjoy his story. And if you’re more into Hollywood than rock star legends -I’ll sneak in a mention of The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard, equally charming and insightful!

Had a Laugh, and maybe a smol sob:

Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman (Audiobook edition is a joy!)

This imperfect but loving Irish family has its fair share of drama but the story is peppered with sweet and funny moments. The audiobook narrator reads the book with a charming Irish accent.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Winner of the 2017 Newbery Award, I’m late to this party but I’m glad to finally have joined the group! Luna is a baby when she’s saved by a kindly witch named Xan and accidentally receives magical powers, with both good and bad consequences.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T Kingfisher

Mona lives in a world where some people have magical abilities and some don’t, and those with magic manifest their abilities in a variety of ways. Mona’s magic is working with baked goods. If that sounds weak to you, just wait to see how she joins the battle against the bad guys wanting to take over her country! Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction in 2020.

Sheets (and Delicates) by Brenna Thummler

Sheets was a Barnes and Noble Best Book of 2018 and Delicates follows the same characters in this follow-up story of a family of ghosts living in a family’s laundromat. The human family is having a hard time financially and it might be their otherworldly guests have a solution, if they’re willing to work together.

Good People in Complicated Relationships

The Operator by Gretchen Berg

Back in the day, Vivian Dalton worked as a phone operator at Ohio Bell in Wooster and often accidentally overhears portions of private conversations. One misheard portion later, Viv and her world are upended. Great family relationships, historical tidbits, and a satisfying conclusion, all set in Northeast Ohio!

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

A modern Western with wide-open lands that still manage to hide plenty of dark secrets of the past and present. You’ll be rooting for everyone in this story-at bare minimum to survive but mostly to find a sense of peace in their lives.

How Not to Drown by Jaimee Wriston

After the death of her younger son, Amelia MacQueen has custody of her 12-year-old granddaughter Heaven. Grandmelia isn’t a cuddly kind of woman, her older son is still living at home and is agoraphobic, and Heaven’s mom is in prison for killing her dad, and they’re all doing their best in their own damaged way. And there are funny bits too, really!

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

After their mom’s death, Patrick O’Hara took his niece and nephew for the summer to help his brother out. The trio already have deep ties and the summer only increases their bonds, but there are tense moments when they work through complex feelings -individually and as a group but even more moments of laughter and love. I laughed out loud. I cried. I love Patrick and his family

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny

Jane has taken a teaching job in the small town of Boyne City, Michigan and falls for the town lothario Duncan. Sometimes it seems like the best choice she’s ever made and sometimes the worst; but the joy of this story for me was in the quiet everyday moments, the small connections that show understanding of the people most important to your life.

Something Different:

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Subtle hints of what might really be happening are mixed in with a complex backstory that could lead a reader down the wrong path of this dark and creepy mystery. The end hints there could be more, or maybe we’ll all be left wondering what happened next…

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (The audiobook narrator does different voices for the characters -and it’s fantastic.)

In this world, people with special abilities are forced to register their skills and are tracked “for everyone’s safety”. The children who live in The House are more exceptional than other citizens and are more closely followed than any others. But they each provide a unique and special viewpoint, they’re funny and sweet and kind to each other, and the adults learn a lot -finally.

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe is a 17-year-old Lipan Apache girl who can communicate with spirits, including her beloved childhood dog Kirby. When her cousin Trevor dies in a seemingly suspicious accident, Ellie and her parents travel to Texas to help Trevor’s widow care for their newborn baby. There is a dangerous force gathering strength in this small town, can Ellie and her family be the force for good that battles the darkness back? Supernatural forces, strong family traditions, and a ghost dog = winner!

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

The first in the Monk and Robot series, this novella takes place in a world where robots have been liberated and live far from human communities. When a tea Monk, tasked with creating special tea blends for each customer as they share what’s on their mind, goes out beyond his usual boundaries he meets a Robot who’s been sent by his collective group to see how humankind is getting along. It’s a quiet story of small comforting moments.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Keiko Furukura started working at the Hiiromachi Station Smile Mart when she was 18-years-old and eighteen years later, feels truly at home in her job. She has a connection to the rhythms of the station, her customers, and the items they sell, but her family and friends tell her she should want something more. Should she listen? A unique character with an unique viewpoint, you don’t really see the full picture until you find yourself at the end of the book.

Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know! Also, if you have any recommendations to share… feel free! Happy Holidays!

– Stacey

One Book, One City: Bicycling with Butterflies by Sara Dykman

Buddy Read – Week Four!

This is our last week to read Bicycling with Butterflies together before the author answers our extra questions about monarchs and give us the dirt on what it’s like to bicycle from Mexico to Canada and back!

Don’t forget, if you want to read a book inspired by Bicycling with Butterflies, check out the digital collection or call the library 440.333.7610 x5501 for suggestions!

And check out what’s happening on the Children’s Department blog, RRPL Kid’s Depot, where you’ll find even more fun things to try out this Summer!!

Rocky River, are you ready to read together? Us too! Let’s get into it and turn that page

Week Four

Chapters 23-31

1. Are you looking at all the creatures in your garden and in the woods a little differently now? Have you been inspired to do some of your own research on any caterpillars or beetles you’ve seen?

2. At this point, the author has moved many creatures out of harm’s way. Have you ever stopped to help a skunk, a turtle, or a caterpillar find a safer path than the one they were on, or would you consider it now?

3. Did you feel the tension growing when the author gave the potential risks and rewards for where eggs are laid during the pre-migration phases of the monarch’s journey? Based on everything you’ve read; do you have a guess at which approach might increase the rate of survival?

4. The author writes, “The more we know, the more we know just how much we don’t know.” With so many new ideas introduced in this book, are you feeling more empowered to make small changes or large ones? Has one of the topics discussed caught your attention, intriguing you enough to dig deeper into what you can find?

Programs happening soon:

One Book, One City Live Q & A with Sara Dykman 

Monday, August 2  

6:00 -7:30 pm  

All ages are invited to hear more about what the author experienced while following the migratory path of monarch butterflies. Questions for the author can be submitted in advance to or asked during this live event. Register here to reserve your space!

One Book, One City: Bicycling with Butterflies by Sara Dykman

Buddy Read Week Three

Gently gliding into week three of our One Book, One City program and there’s still plenty of time to catch up (if you’re behind) or do a little extra research (if you’re ahead) of the buddy read schedule! There are also still plenty of programs coming over the next two weeks, including the Live Q & A with Sara Dykman on Monday, August 2, at 6:00pm -register here to reserve your space!

If you want to read a book inspired by Bicycling with Butterflies, check out the digital collection or call the library 440.333.7610 x5501 for suggestions!

And don’t forget to check out what’s happening on the Children’s Department blog, RRPL Kid’s Depot, where you’ll find even more fun things to try out this Summer!!

Rocky River, are you ready to read together? Us too! Let’s get into it and turn that page

Week Three
Chapters 16-22
1. How would you have responded if you were the one riding by freshly cut wildflowers and weeds, knowing there was milkweed and monarch offspring included in the cuttings?

2. After learning how the monarchs and milkweed have continuously adapted in response to each other, monarchs trying to get around the milkweed plant’s ever-changing defenses, can you predict a final outcome in this tug-of-war?

3. Have you visited the pollinator garden at the library? What kinds of pollinators do you think we’ll be attracting? What would you plant in your own garden to tempt bees or butterflies?

4. Were you also surprised at how long it takes a monarch to grow from an egg to a butterfly? Do you think you’ll be able to spot the monarchs, in all the different stages, moving through Northeast Ohio more easily now? Where do you think it is a good place to start looking?

Programs happening soon:
Tuesday, July 20 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Parents and children are invited to learn all about how to cycle safely together in this family focused bike education program. Helmet tips, child carrier information, and more will be shared. Presented by Bike Cleveland.

Tween Green Team: Bicycles and Butterflies Edition
For students completing grades 4-6
Wednesday, July 21 2:00 to 3:00 pm
Put on your helmet and join us for a bike ride to learn all about butterflies and their special role in our ecosystem! After the ride, take home a kit to make a butterfly feeding station and seeds to start your own butterfly garden.

One Book, One City

Bicycling with Butterflies by Sara Dykman

Buddy Read – Week Two

Here we are at the start of the second full week of our One Book, One City program and hopefully we’re all taking another look at all the interesting creatures right outside our doors. If you haven’t started the book, don’t worry! We’ll be enjoying this book and all the accompanying programs all the way through Monday, August 2, when Sara Dykman will be answering your questions (virtually) at 6:00pm -register here to reserve your space!

If you want to read a book inspired by Bicycling with Butterflies, check out the digital collection or call the library 440.333.7610 x5501 for suggestions!

And don’t forget to check out what’s happening on the Children’s Department blog, RRPL Kid’s Depot, where you’ll find even more fun things to try out this Summer!!

Rocky River, are you ready to read together? Us too! Let’s get into it and turn that page

Week Two

Chapters 8-15

1. If you were planning the bike route, where do you think you could find the right data for deciding which roads to take and locations good for stopping?

2. Have you heard of native seeds or native planting before? What do you think about this movement, and would you be willing to try it out in your own backyard? Do you know what plants are native to this area?

3. If you’re interested in learning more about monarch butterflies being suggested for inclusion on the Endangered Species Act, check out this great page created by Phytophagy Lab at Cornell University.

4. Who else went searching for the different ways you can participate with Monarch Watch?

Programs happening soon:

Monarch Wonders Storytime 

Family event 

Tuesday, July 15 

To go along with this summer’s One City, One Book, join us virtually for songs, stories and a craft about the beautiful monarch butterfly. An activity kit will be available to pick up prior to the program. A link of the program will be sent the day of the event.

One Book, One City: Bicycling with Butterflies by Sara Dykman

Buddy Read -Week One

So the official start date of our One Book, One City program was on Friday and will go through the month of July; and because it’s part of 2021 Summer Reading Tails and Tales, the whole experience actually stretches from June to August! Not a bad deal, right?

Hopefully you’ve gotten a print or digital copy of the book Bicycling with Butterflies by Sara Dykman, or will be soon, and you’re ready to start buddy reading with us. Each Sunday you’ll see which chapters we’re planning to read during the week, along with questions or ideas you can think about while reading or after you’ve reached our goal chapter. Chat about it with a friend, a family member, or comment on this post, come to a program scheduled soon, and save up some questions for the author who will be speaking with us via Zoom on Monday, August 2nd (you can register here).

And don’t forget to check out what’s happening on the Children’s Department blog, RRPL Kid’s Depot, where you’ll find even more fun things to try out this Summer!! 

Rocky River, are you ready to read together? Us too! Let’s get into it and turn that page!
Bicycling with Butterflies
Week One
Chapters 1-7
1. To travel from Mexico to Canada, following the Monarch migration, the author estimates she’ll need to bike 1,200 miles a month. It’s 1,184 miles from Austin to Cleveland, or 1,223 miles from Denver to Cleveland, could you make that distance in a month? What do you think the biggest challenges might be?

2, The author discusses why Monarchs overwinter in Mexico and how climate change is making it harder for the overwintering group to start strong. What do you think we can do to help improve the chances for the first generation of migrating Monarchs?

3. Were you inspired to find more on the topic after being introduced to the monarch legends told by the indigenous Nahuatl people?

4. What was your initial reaction when the author first described her bike? Do you think you’d be able to manage getting all the equipment attached? 

Programs happening soon:
Sunday, July 11, 2-3 p.m. 
Join Cleveland Metroparks Naturalist Jen Brumfield for a look into the fascinating lives of Monarch butterflies. We'll explore their beginnings from egg to caterpillar and, as winged adults, their migration to Mexico. This is a Zoom program and will require registration.

Top FifTEeN of 2020 (Heh! No one will notice the extra five, right?)

This has been an unusual year (such an understatement!) and (not shockingly) it’s translated to what I wound up reading this year… (so much insight!) But like every previous year, it was a struggle to decide which books and why. Hopefully you’ll find a new book to try or you’ll have a happy “oh! meeee too!” moment! (Bonus comments in parentheses because you can’t see me doing eyerolls at myself. Enjoy!)

Now let’s get on to the goods, in alphabetical order by author, The Books:

Adult Fiction

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen

It felt like reading an excellent BBC series: engaging characters, smart mystery, and a great WWII time/place setting. The second book in the series will be out before the end of the year: Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers! (Historical Mystery)

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Mr. Backman can write a likable,  curmudgeonly character like few can but this book is really more of an ensemble journey and each character has their own quirky personality. The beginning is a little dark but quickly becomes an uplifting story of how individuals can build their own supportive community. (General Fiction)

Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown

Just like when you hear about any picture of a perfect wife, husband, or marriage, it becomes clear there is no such thing as perfect. Quiet and thoughtful, suspenseful and satisfying, this book was everything I wanted it to be. (General Fiction)

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

I loved Ready Player One and was a little worried the sequel wouldn’t live up to the original, what a waste of a decent worry! All the pop culture references, interesting future-thinking ideas, and plenty of exciting plot twists, this is *chef’s kiss* a delight! Fun extra -the IRL setting is Columbus, Ohio!(General Fiction/Science Fiction)

Weather by Jenny Offill

Odd, quirky, sometimes uncomfortable, and completely engaging. If you’re looking for a book short on pages and long on impact, this might be the one for you! (Literary Fiction)

Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts was on my list last year and prompted me to read this older title by the same author. Yep, just as good! It’s a long-game mystery with shades of The Shining suspense. (Mystery)

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz

The family relationships, the wanting to be a part of something while also needing to be an individual, watching how society’s views on a variety of topics changed with the decades, all made each page of this book a pleasure. If you grew up in a small town, you’ll feel this story that much more deeply. (General Fiction)

Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood

Mix a little Thin Man, Nick and Nora, with a little Mickey Spillane, add a female Sherlock Holmes and Watson, put World War II espionage into the background, and you’ll get close to understanding why you want to read this next. It’s a debut and I’m typing this with my fingers crossed that the second book will be coming soon! (Historical Mystery)

Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman

This author consistently connects her characters and action in smart and surprising ways, with conclusions that are unexpected and satisfying. I’ve only listened to the audio versions of Ms. Steadman’s books, and I don’t plan to change that, it’s like hearing a radio drama with all the sound effects a listener could hope for! (Mystery)

Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stephenson

Charming and insightful, this is the story of a “bot” who has a degree of self-awareness that he needs to seek therapy before going on a journey to fulfill his dreams. It’s not a simple journey as he needs to hide his true nature as our society is prejudiced against AI and are as likely to attack him as help him. You might shed a tear or two along the way, but it’s worth it. (General Fiction)

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

If you like superhero/supervillain movies or you’ve watched The Boys on Amazon Prime, you will love every page of this book. Anna shows some small but special abilities with numbers but she’s tired of being a contract worker for whichever villain needs temporary help. Offered what seemed to be an easy and high paying gig changed everything, just not for the better. With engaging characters, interesting thoughts on how we think of good vs. evil, and some really clever surprises, this book checked all the boxes for me this year. (General or Science Fiction)

Adult Nonfiction

Barnstorming Ohio to Understand America  by David Giffels

The 2020 General Election may have cost Ohio our “bellwether state” title but if you want a better understanding of how one state can represent so much of the entire USA, this book is the one to read. The author uses his own travels to different locations and conversations with individuals to make each experience engaging for the reader. (Nonfiction)

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

I’m embarrassed to say this is the first book I’ve read by Mr. Gladwell but this book sent me off on a “what else” deep dive, and now I’m a die-hard fan. I learned so much but reading the book felt more like I was reading a series of short, connected, stories. If you pick this one up, we can talk about how crazy it is that our brain defaults to what we want to believe even when the facts show a different reality. Just, so good!

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Individually, they are funny and the laughs only increase as they tell how they became a couple. I listened to the audio version and highly recommend this option as Megan and Nick are the readers -it starts to feel like you’re in a candid conversation with new friends.

Teen Fiction

The Darkness Duology: Courting Darkness and Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

The characters and setting are part of the His Fair Assassin series, and it feels like catching up with old friends (who can kick some serious hiney). Sybella must protect her younger sisters from being used as political pawns while also trying to keep the new Queen safe from enemies within the Royal House. The author always provides such strong women as main characters but remembers to give them flaws and quirks so they remain relatable. Ms. LaFevers never disappoints! (Historical Mystery)

Of course, I also think pretty highly of the books I suggested for the RRPL Gift Guide -ya know- and I might be counting those books as part of a bigger list for the year? Anyway… Happy Holidays, with books and snackies, for all!!


Time to Prepare?

There’s still time! You can still bake, and craft, and read, all the holiday treats your 2020 heart desires! (I qualify this to your “2020 heart” as this year is not like the others. Maybe you’re skipping, or maybe you’re all in, it doesn’t feel like there’s one, right answer. Aannyyyywho…)

If you want to make something Buddy the Elf would approve of: Cookies and other Sweet Treats might have a digital book that can help you out!

Rather than hitting all the stores, maybe you want to check out a digital book from Why Buy it When You Can Make it? collection!

Or perhaps you’d like to unwind, read or listen to Holiday Stories for the Young and the Young at Heart -which also tend to be shorter, and great for my minimal attention span?

Maybe you want to sample something from all three options -and then- take a nap! This is a judgement free zone -enjoy what works (plus a piece of candy)!


RRPL Gift Guide

I love giving books and will take advantage of any occasion to find something I think will fit my giftee, and that includes pondering if there’s something you might want to gift yourself of course! I sorted the titles into broad ideas of who they might appeal to but left the heavy lifting of plot description to the reviews on (Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mis to financially support local, independent bookstores.) I hope this list helps you finish off your holiday shopping on a high note!

For your friend who wants something “different”
Mr. Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain
The Butterfly Lampshade by Amiee Bender
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
Jane in Love by Rachel Givney
The Darkness Duology by Robin LaFevers
Weather by Jenny Offill
Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stephenson
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman

For your friend who wants something “thoughtful”
Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
Barnstorming Ohio by David Giffels
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Do Nothing by Celeste Headless
Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine May
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz
Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

For your friend who wants something “funny”
Anxious People by Fredrick Backman
The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan
The Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman

For your friend who wants to “solve the puzzle”
Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen
Death in Her Hands by Ottesa Moshfegh
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Of Mutts and Men by Spencer Quinn
Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood
Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

And if you’re looking for a way to do something extra, I just discovered the United States Postal Service has a program called “Operation Santa.” This won’t be news to everyone as it’s been going on for years but if you, like me, hadn’t heard of it before I’ll drop a link here.

I wish everyone a safe, healthy holiday season, with a book (or two) to help you keep feeling strong!

Let’s Make Something Good!

Here we go, headed into the making-est time of the year! And even though the 2020 Holiday Season may not offer the exact same opportunities for celebration as previous years, it doesn’t mean you can’t pick and choose some favorite parts! Maybe you just want to experiment with new foods or you want to get back into crafting, this feels like a good time to change things up.

If you’re ready to start planning, why not take a look at the books available in Fall Harvest, Fall Flavors, Crafting for the Holiday Season, or Why Buy it When You Can Make it? And while you’re making new stuff, if you want a book to listen to, I just finished Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood -here’s hoping it the first in (long running) series!